Tuesday, August 16, 2005

IFLA 2005, Oslo: Day 5 (part 2)

Continues from previous post: Day 5 - 16 Aug in Oslo. From the session on "Libraries serving disadvantaged persons".

The second speaker shared her experience in using the IFLA checklist for disability services. Made a comment that implementation of services was still down to economic considerations, and that "changes occur very slowly."

What's interesting and inspiring for me was thatspeaker begun by saying she's deaf. Said she could only lip read, and noticed the conference room did not have emergency evacuation signs in text form, so would the audience help her to escape if there was a fire... :)

My own takeaways from this session:
The issues surrounding library services for people with disabilities have not changed much since my own literature review for my thesis in 2000. Progress in this area is slow.

However, discussion is still needed because otherwise it eliminates the possibility of future service provision. There has to be professional consciousness, I think.

Main reason for this slow progress is really down to economics, as the speaker said. And that's simply the fact. Not everyone is happy about it, but I think what's key is to acknowledge this, and deal with it.

IFLA has a Standing Committee for libraries serving people with disabilities. They've published a checklist developed checklist and guidelines. Would be put on IFLAnet after the conference.

Here's a thought: Which is cheaper in the long run? Retrofit a library to cater for selected groups of people with disabilities, or subsidise a home delivery and collection service?

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